January 26, 2022

An adventure between Avignon and Arles, by solar bike, to meet solidarity companies.

At 34 years old from Avignon, Jérôme Zindy embarked on a local tour of virtuous companies. 300 km on his bike, to meet entrepreneurs who take care of the environment and employees.

In 2019, Jérôme Zindy’s life turned 360 degrees. No more air travel, no more marketing for an international rally, no more unwanted purchases and refocusing on the essential: the local and the environment.

To get there, the 30-something swaps his car for a bike … but beware, not just any bike, an electric and solar bike made especially for him of which he is very proud:

“Commercial electric bikes have a very short lifespan. You can rarely change their battery. I had mine created on purpose by a specialized company in St Miter-les-Remparts.”

This bike has an infinite lifespan: 100,000 km or even more.

Jérôme Zindi on his solar bike

A super robust bike where everything can be changed. Of course, the machine has a cost, in the 5,000 euros.

On sunny days, the machine does not consume other energy. But it can also, if necessary, charge like any electric bicycle and during the descents the energy is stored as for a hybrid car.

With this bike, Jérôme the adventurer, decided to undertake a big project: “the mini Odyssey Tomorrow”.

So in partnership with France Active Paca, (a funding organization to help and advise so-called committed companies) Jérôme developed his project: joining virtuous companies by bike, one after the other, to bring them to light.

  • There are solutions to protect the environment and live in a better world, they are often very close to where we live, but we do not know them. “Explains Jérôme..

So in a freezing early morning we find Jérôme in the Avignon suburb. The man is waiting for us on his bike and with him Nicolas, his photographer also on an electric bicycle. The cold stings the hands, but pedaling quickly warms up the small team.

Together the two men will go to meet Charlotte Trossat.

The young woman is a former engineer. 8 years ago, she gave up everything to set up her project: a local, organic and solidarity-based cannery, her name: local en bocal.

Here, we only work with ugly vegetables and fruits. Finally ugly … not really … but rather different. Tiny carrots, huge onions or sweet potatoes, slightly damaged squash … in short, vegetables that would not find buyers in a supermarket, or even in a farmers’ market.

  • But our grandparents consumed them without even thinking about it … at the time when common sense still existed “. Charlotte adds.

200 tonnes of these downgraded vegetables are used each year by “local en jar”. Vegetables that would be thrown in the trash if Charlotte hadn’t decided to cook them. A real fight against food waste.

Today the company employs 20 people, it has been based in Avignon for 3 years. And even if the financial year is just balancing the young woman is positive.

  • “Dsince I am a boss, I feel that I have a real leverage on the environment. I am much more efficient than as an ordinary citizen who turns off his tap when brushing his teeth !” s’exclame Charlotte.

The entrepreneur only supplies herself with local vegetables, a maximum of 30 km. It has entered into a partnership with organic farmers in the area, who thus find an outlet for their unsold products. Charlotte buys them back these vegetables, which are half the price. But to enhance their value, the work is much more important, here everything is done by hand.

Soups made by “local en jar” are sold, for example, in a very large chain of organic stores under their own brand. They also end up on the plates (and certainly in the stomachs) of schoolchildren in Avignon, since the company supplies the central canteen of the city of the popes. Local en jar is already listed in more than 300 stores or customers.

  • And then, as a designer and director, I also chose to open the door of my business to refugees. Two people from Afghanistan work here.

This is also what being a virtuous company is. Charlotte also employs back-to-work employees. They find here a springboard to integrate themselves over the long term into a real life project.

Jérôme Zindy is in heaven. He has stars in his eyes. Nicolas, his photographer, shoots the place.

The adventurer left his bike outside and for a few minutes he almost forgot about it. Is the precious machine still outside? A shiver of worry runs through the assembly.

But here nobody steals. When leaving the company, the strange machine is still there: quietly waiting for its owner on the asphalt in the parking lot. Good thing: there is still a bit of road to do. This evening Jérôme has an appointment with an ecological landscaper who is dividing by 5 the use of water in the gardens he creates. And then tomorrow it is an itinerant trader in a grocery truck that Jérome will go to highlight in Carpentras. The two accomplices get on their bikes and set off to continue the Odyssey.